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Northern spring soon

Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa MP said the Government will soon achieve a Northern spring by granting all facilities for the Northern people while restoring the Yal Devi service gradually upto Kankesanthurai (KKS).

Addressing a ceremony organized to mark the historic journey of the Yal Devi beyond Vavuniya upto Thandikuam after 20 years, on Saturday, he said that the new sound of the Yal Devi will herald the arrival of the Northern spring to the people of the North.

While restoring the rail track gradually upto KKS, already many bridges, electricity facilities, the Medawachchiya-Mannar main road, Mannar-Pooneryn main road, several irrigation schemes including Iranamadu and Yoda Wewa are under construction for the benefit of the Northern people.

Furthermore, we have already initiated a number of projects to improve the infrastructure facilities including other basic facilities like health, education, electricity and drinking water for the wellbeing and welfare of the people living in the five districts of Killinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Jaffna and Mannar in the North.

As an initial step, the Engineering Division of Sri Lanka Army is engaged in removing landmines and once this is over, the resettlement of the Internally Displaced People would begin, as the first phase had already started from the Silavathura area.

He further said that the Government has already taken steps to look after the IDPs to its maximum while each of the nearly 300,000 have already been provided with proper shelter. Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said that resuming of the journey of the Yal Devi beyond Vavuniya upto Thandikulam after 20 years represents a historical landmark and an occasion that gives considerable pride to the entire nation. He said Yal Devi is not just a train, it symbolizes the ending of the unfortunate war while starting a new journey that would unite the entire nation after 20 years.

Today, we see a new link that joins the palmyrah tree of the North with the coconut tree of the South, he said.

The Yal Devi has fulfilled her responsibilities of building religious, cultural and social ties among Tamils and Sinhalese.

“After 20 years, all of us have been able to travel together in the Yal Devi due to the elimination of terrorism by our heroic Armed Forces under the command of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Commanders of the Three Forces,” the Minister noted.

He said that the North-South Friendship Railway Project, Uthuru Mithuru was started after President Rajapaksa donated his one month’s salary to the project on April 23 with the objective of rebuilding by starting with the commissioning of the country’s Yal Devi railway track to link it with the South.

He said it is estimated that a total cost for the rehabilitation of a single line track from Vavuniya to KKS with buildings is Rs. 14,500 million. The Government will construct the first section from Vavuniya with its own funds while breakup of the line of 160km track has been divided to 10 sections of approximately 16km length for purpose of reconstruction through foreign and local funds for each of these sections.

Therefore, the Transport Ministry has issued the ticket naming Hadavathata ticket ekak each costing Rs. 1,000 to be collected for the project.

The ticket will be valid for a single journey from Colombo to Jaffna once the restoration of the railway track is completed. The ticket can be purchased at any Railway Station in the country. The Minister also invited public contribution towards the completion of the project.

He said that the restoration of the Northern tack is thus one of the first and necessary pre-requisites for lasting peace between communities.

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